Lean in – Yes, balance is bogus

By Marianne Flakk, Guest Writer

Sometimes it is good to just be good enough — that was the conclusion of the fourth session of the “Lean In” series, which asked “Is Balance Bogus?” Monday.

The topic of balance between work and personal life was based on questions raised in the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg.

The Women’s Center, Career Connections, Student Involvement and Leadership (SIL), Wild Hope Center for Vocation and the Diversity Center have cooperated to put together a number of panels to address the question of how women view what they are meant to do and their roles in society.

The panel consisted of Patty Krise, project manager at Ford Motor Credit, Kate Luther, assistant professor of sociology, Joanna Gregson, professor of sociology, and Lisa Henderson, director of academic budgeting and planning. Lynn Hunnicutt, the director of the Wild Hope Center for Vocation, led the discussion.
“It leads to a conversation between the audience and the panelist,” Hunnicut said. “They get to talk about what they want to talk about within the topic.”

The audience members engaged in dialogue with the panelists.

“I’m impressed with the questions the students had tonight. They were very insightful,” Hunnicutt said.

One audience member asked about the fear of missing out on important things in life. “Life is balance,” Henderson responded. “You are constantly trying to figure out how to deal with challenges in your personal life and your professional life. For me the thing that has worked is setting boundaries for myself and others.”

Luther also spoke about a solution for deciding what someone should say yes to and when to decline.
“You need to choose what means something to you, something you have a passion for and care about and chose to say yes to that,” Luther said.

The word “balance,” however, may not be the best word to describe this process.
“Balance is bogus. We often think of juggling instead of balance. And juggling means having everything up there, happening at one time and most people can’t do it,” Gregson said. “I think a better word would be bowling. You throw the ball to try to get as much as possible, so I prefer that word over juggling.”

Regardless, the conception of balance changes over time.

“The types of things you are balancing change, but you always balance, and you balance it, because you love it,” Krise said.
Senior Nomiun Gankhuyag, one of the students who attended the panel, said she enjoyed the event. “It is empowering women, and it’s good to learn other perspectives and see how others think.”

Gankhuyag said she learned from the event and plans to use some of the information in her life. “Balance is a hot topic,” Gankhuyag said. “I think about it a lot and I realized I can’t give and give, but I need to find my values and prioritize.”

There will be a fifth session of the “Lean In” series April 14 called “Lessons From Former Lutes,” where alums will come back to talk to students.

Leave a Reply